Villiger (Tabatip)

The story of the Villiger tobacco company dates back to 1888 when Jean Villiger established a cigar-making company in the village of Pfeffikon, near Luzern in Switzerland. His aim was to use some of the factories which had been deserted because of a downturn in the textile business. He paid particular attention to the tobacco used and the firm soon built up a reputation for luxury products. After his death in 1902 the factory was run by his widow Louise and it was she who expanded the business into Germany with a new factory at Waldshut-Tiengen in 1910 before handing over to her sons Max and Hans who developed the business into one of the major cigar makers in Europe. Villiger uses specially picked tobacco mainly from Latin America and now has six factories in operation, including one in Poland. The cigars are then exported all over the world. In an effort to increase awareness of the company and its Tabatip brand the company decided to sponsor the Shadow F1 team in 1978. The company did not renew the sponsorship and in 1980 took the unusual step of going into the bicycle business, buying a bicycle manufacturing plant in Switzerland and later a second in Germany. The company is still run by the Villiger Family and has factories in Switzerland, Germany, Ireland and Poland and manufacturers cigars under licence for some of the best known Cuban firms.